Centre Of Excellence outcome for Step On Service

Last week, we held one of the most enjoyable Trust Board meetings I can remember since I joined the Trust – packed with evidence of the great services we provide and the people who deliver them. I thought I’d start this week’s blog by showing you show of what we enjoyed, including a great patient story.


Martha is 13 years old and has been known to the Children’s Community LD team since she was 3 years old.

She was originally referred for support with continence development and her poor sleep pattern. Martha has Williams Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. This condition is characterised by mild to moderate intellectual disability or learning problems, unique personality characteristics, distinctive facial features, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems.

Martha lives at home with her parents and younger brother. Martha’s family are very supportive, describing Martha as ‘growing up’ and although she still struggles with some areas of her life mainly relating to Williams Syndrome, she is now able to implement herself some of the strategies which support her.

​We were privileged to have Martha and her parents attend the Trust Board to show us their story and answer any questions attendees might have.   

You can watch Martha’s story below. 


The Board also was able to congratulate some of our colleagues on their retirement, as well as give out an individual REACH Award.

The REACH Award this month went to Holly Barker, Senior Nurse, Darwin Centre.

Holly is responsible for leading a team of staff to develop and implement care plans with young people and also acts in support of the Ward Manager in their absence. When Holly didn’t receive a clear response as to why an out of area placement was being proposed, she took the initiative, liaised with NHS England and escalated the situation to Directorate management. Following Holly’s very professional intervention, the collective decision was made to rearrange the admission to the Darwin Centre, meaning the young person continued to be cared for locally, much to the relief of the patient and family. And the young person was successfully transferred to the Darwin Centre a few hours later.

The Gatekeeping function at Darwin was formally reinstated by NHS England following their recent review and the Commissioners now wish to progress discussions with the Trust about The Darwin Centre taking on a wider role with more responsibility for Gatekeeping admissions to CAMHS inpatient units across the West.

​We also were delighted to congratulate no less than three members of staff on their well deserved retirement.  These were:

  • Lynda Edwards – Healthcare Support Worker on Ward 7 for over 17 years;
  • Linda Hough – Community Alcohol Detox Nurse; and
  • Kath Salt – Community Nurse

Many congratulations and best wishes to all of them. 


It was a delight to continue my programme of visit to teams shortlisted for this year’s Annual REACH Awards. Many thanks for a really warm welcome from colleagues on Ward 4 and from the Step On service at Lymebrook and the Hope Centre.

The visit to the Hope Centre coincided with a Fidelity Review of the Step On Service. Step On held their Fidelity Review at The Hope Centre, where they were assessed by the Centre for Mental Health. Step On is the IPS Service (Individual Placement & Support Team) working across Combined and Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust (MPFT), providing employment support to clients across Staffordshire on Care Coordination. The Fidelity Review examines how close a team is working to the IPS Fidelity scale, with the closer to Fidelity the better the outcomes for both the clients & to the Service, assuring The Trust, Providers & Commissioners of the effectiveness of Step On and delivery of IPS. Step On were seen to be providing Exemplary Fidelity, which is the highest score a service can be given and have been awarded the Centre of Excellence status! This showcases the excellent IPS Service delivery the team provides. Well done all!


Our 2019 Flu Fighting campaign continues to grow and it’s proving to be a great year. I did my bit last week, along with other members of the Board.

And it’s a huge ‘thank you to you all’ as of the end of last week we have vaccinated 483 front line facing staff which means a 34% compliance rate for the Trust as well as 100 non-patient-facing staff. Well Done!

Thank you all for supporting the Flu vaccination campaign, you really do make a difference.

This year, the Trust has even more keen and willing volunteers who are ready to provide your vaccine to you. We have vaccinators in nearly all areas, making it even easier than ever for you to get your jab!  

Following on from last year’s success, Dial-a-Jab and Text-a-Jab will be returning. Simply call or text 07740372868 to arrange to have your jab. If you prefer to email, you can also use flufightersnscht@combined.nhs.uk


It was a real pleasure to be able to open the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent STP Stepping Up Programme Alumni event, supporting the graduates on their continuing leadership journey within the system, and giving them the opportunity to feed back to system leaders their insights from the programme, recommendations and priorities.

The Stepping Up programme is a national leadership development programme for aspiring black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues who work within healthcare (the NHS or an organisation providing NHS care). It aims to create greater levels of sustainable inclusion within the NHS by addressing the social, organisational and psychological barriers restricting BAME colleagues from progressing. The programme is designed to bridge the gap between where applicants are and where they need to be, to progress into more senior roles.

We’re really proud to be coordinating delivery of the Programme on behalf of the STP – and equally proud that Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is the first area of the country to commission the programme across an entire STP.

There were plenty of ideas and recommendations fed back from the graduates to the programme leaders, including Sir Neil McKay, Independent Chair, and Simon Whitehouse, STP Director. And we produced the short celebration film below to mark the event.


The festival of Diwali is being celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains this week. Diwali is celebrated by different faith communities from 27 October onwards. The dates vary each year according to the night of the full moon and celebrations can last up to a week. Diwali is often described as the ‘festival of lights’.

The name of the festival comes from the Sanskrit word Dipavali, meaning row of lights. It is a festival that different faith communities celebrate, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. The day is marked as an official holiday in India, but other countries also celebrate Diwali, especially where there is a significant Indian population e.g. Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mauritius, Myanmar, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Fiji, Singapore, and Malaysia.

On behalf of Combined Healthcare, can I wish everyone a Happy Diwali 2019.